One would never expect to sell a brand with names like Lansi and Taikor but for entrepreneur Koh Yung Shen (Shen), these very names became his signature brand for not just an eccentric fan base locally, but among local and international musicians.
Shen is the founder of The Swagger Salon, a local streetwear boutique with some attitude in 2010 and established their first flagship store in Georgetown in December 2014.
The Swagger Salon flagship store in Penang – Pic by The Swagger Salon
“The concept behind calling it a “salon” was because just like regular hair and beauty salons, you could visit The Swagger Salon to get your swag on and basically pimp your wardrobe up,” says Shen.
The Swagger Salon is behind the infamous Lansi fitted cap which gained a cult following in Penang, particularly in the local the hip-hop scene. With some local and international celebrity clientele such as American Female Emcee Nova Rockefeller, jazz crooner Jose James and funk artiste Dam Funk, The Swagger Salon slowly made its mark in the international music scene and built their own music network that rocks the Lansi brand.
Lansi Jacket – Pic by The Swagger Salon
The LANSI story goes back to 2007 where Shen, the founder of the brand and currently the Creative Director, scribbled the word LANSI — meaning arrogant in the local lingo, on his blank trucker cap. Based on the feedback he got on the cap, it occurred to him that it might make a cool clothing brand, especially since streetwear enthusiasts tend to carry an aura of better-than-you attitude and arrogance with them.”
The streetwear line can hardly be underestimated as it has bagged a couple of awards; namely, the Juice Magazine’s ‘Local Streetwear of the Year’ in the same year it was established and went on to win the ‘The Realest Local Streetwear’ title in 2013 – also by Juice. Their involvement in highly rated events like Asia Music Festival, Blackberry Music Mania – NYEConcert) and Raising the Bar Festival has also gathered tremendous amount of credentials for The Swagger Salon.
Lansi Cap – Pic by The Swagger Salon
Since Shen’s team members were heavily involved in the Malaysian music scene, breaking into the local music scene was not too challenging in their early days.
Starting off with their caps, the Swagger Salon has expanded their business with customised- t-shirts, jackets, shades and other accessories under Lansi, and another ghetto brand called Taikor, another sub-brand under that caters to a predominantly masculine market.
The streetwear collection has plans to introduce yet another special edition brand called the Scumbag – a collaborative effort between a local hip-hop group The Rebel Scum and The Swagger Salon in conjunction with their long-awaited album, The Time Has Scum, back in 2013.
The Swagger Salon is expecting to grow its flagship store as an attraction spot in Penang as a go-to destination for the best local clothing brand. Shen adds that expansion plans are in progress featuring co-working space for local artisanal brands among other things.
Text by R.S. Kamini
Pic by The Swagger Salon